Well, they did enough to get it done. No perfect game, far from it-but the Grizzlies turned up the D when they had to and held the Magic to 14 measly points in Q4. An odd game, in that one could easily have been reminded of a few games down the stretch last year when the Griz had a playoff spot coming and just left the engine on idle, hitting the gas (especially on the defensive end) just firmly enough to get the W. Complacency, or control? Who knows. Couple positives and a couple concerns…
Positive: six players in double figures, with Gay making up for his horrible performance last game in a big way. 8-14 with a shocking 4-4 from 3. His other numbers left something to be desired, but we’ll give him a preseason pass.
Concern: Magic go 12/21 from 3. This number raises a red flag the size of Wyoming. SVG or no SVG, the Magic will love their threes…but giving up twelve of them to Orlando just won’t work. There are plenty of other teams in the league with multiple 3 threats, and if those teams smell blood entering the water when they see the Griz D take the court, it could be a bit longer season than even we still-lockout-starved NBA junkies might prefer.
Positive: Eleven Griz TO’s, to seventeen for the Magic. Counter to the 3-pt issue, this is an all-important aspect of Grizzlies defense that went exceedingly well this game (tip o’ the cap to Etwaun Moore for spotting the Griz six TO’s on his own). Speed in the passing lanes and smart anticipation, along with listening to Tony Allen tell ’em how it’s gotta get done, will help the Grizzlies again this season.
Concern: The “idling the engine” thing has to stop, if in fact that’s part of the team’s psyche right now. Surely it’s not, but if it is…the Hollins Freight Train full of pain is gonna run right through that psyche.
Positive: Gay, Randolph, and Gasol took 44 shots between them. I like it, I like it a lot. Best frontline in the NBA? Debatable, but they’re up there.
Finally…not to further disrupt/disturb the cult, but the recent article in the Commercial Appeal seems to affirm what I wrote a few games ago…Jerome Jordan is playing his way ahead of Stonehands Haddadi, perhaps. Who knows if he’ll even make the squad, but it can’t be denied that he’s got better court awareness and significantly more athletic ability than Hamed. Do, or should, the Griz regret giving Hamed another contract? Time will tell…